When the Yankees lost Luis Severino to Tommy John surgery, their starting rotation was in relative tatters. They were already without James Paxton and Domingo German until June, leaving them without three of their five best starters for the first two months of the 2020 season.
So, it wasn't shocking to hear that they were in superficial talks with another team, even if was the Mets. The two teams trust each other about as much as two gangs from the Five Points crucible of Manhattan in the 1850s. Still, the Yanks have a demand for pitching and the Mets have a surplus of starters, such as Steven Matz, who would serve as a fair plug for the Yankees' leaky rotation until their injured starters return to the mound.
But the notion became laughable when Miguel Andujar was rumored to be a part of any such deal. Whether it was the Mets, one of their fans, beat reporters, or some on-air gasbag who suggested the young Yankees star be included in any trade (not involving Jacob deGrom), it's inconceivable that the Yankees would part with such a tantalizing talent for a back-end starter.
It's easy to root for Steven Matz. He hails from Long Island, seems like a swell guy and has never embarrassed the Mets. But the grim truth about Matz is he's 29 and has never quite lived up to the projections that his talent warrants. His best year came in 2016, his rookie year. Matz has a 31-36 career record, with a 4.05 ERA and has been plagued by injuries over the first half of his career, and inconsistency over the second half.
But the truth is that Andujar was better than Torres in 2018. He had more homers than Torres (27 to 24). He had more RBI than Torres (92 to 77). Some of that can be explained by Andujar playing 26 more games, but Andujar also batted .297 while Torres hit just .271. Andujar grabbed 89 vote points, to 25 for Torres, including a five-to-zero edge in first-place votes.
We've seen what a game-breaking behemoth Gleyber Torres has become. And since we would never even think of Torres being shipped to the Mets for Matz, it sounds just as fantastic and foolish for Andujar's name to even be whispered in such a deal.
The Yankees must also ponder their players beyond the mound. We've just learned that the Bronx Bombers’ two biggest sluggers, Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge, are unlikely to suit-up for Opening Day, according to GM Brian Cashman. So, while the Yankees have displayed a masterful penchant for replacing their injured stars, booting Andujar across the Harlem River would be myopic, if not devastating.
Andujar has the kind of talent that would flood box scores and baseball cards with staggering stats. And the Yankees, who are giving Andujar some time in left field in spring training, can plug him in for Stanton while he recovers from his umpteenth injury.
Cashman surely giggled at the whole thing. The winter is rife with rumors straight from the Twilight Zone. And since baseball is about the only sport in which our local teams really matter, it makes for a fun debate, no matter how funny a deal between the Mets and Yanks in general - and Matz for Andujar in particular - sounds to sane baseball fans.